Friday, November 6, 2020

Little ladies Manville and Lane show off huge talents in 'Let Him Go'

Lane and Costner share a real Western moment in "Let Him Go."
When many of us last saw the ever-grand Lesley Manville, she was stealing Paul Thomas Anderson's Oscar-worthy "Phantom Thread" from leading man Daniel Day-Lewis with her own nominated supporting performance. (Apologies to that 2017 winner, Allison Janney in "I, Tonya," but it says here that Manville was robbed.)

Regardless, three years later, the petite British dynamo is turning the same acting tricks in "Let Him Go," a slow-heating Western potboiler that finds Manville's cunning Blanche Weboy threatening a longtime couple (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner) trying to save their grandson from a brood of brigands and bullies.

Costner, who has been playing cowboys for so long now you might be surprised when he's not wearing a Stetson, portrays retired Montana lawman George Blackledge. As this man of very few words, Costner gives a performance that suits the Oscar-winner well, especially since he takes a considerable back seat to the ladies in the room. 

Manville as the Weboy matriarch. 
That means George's wife Margaret, a good, strong woman who used to break horses and apparently whispered to them, too, rules a roost which likely has weathered the storms of a relationship woe or two. It's a part that allows Lane to roam a wide landscape, and she certainly shows the chops and fortitude to do it in more than attractive fashion.

So, a showdown might be looming, folks -- Margaret versus Blanche, Lane against Manville -- after an abusive member of the Weboy clan enters the life of the Blackledges by marrying the widow of their late son and moving to the badlands of North Dakota with three-year-old Jimmy Blackledge in tow.

He takes plenty of potential violence with him, too, in the unsettling mix of family loyalty and shocking intrusion that writer/director Thomas Bezucha ("The Family Stone") grippingly assembles from a novel by Larry Watson. As always on this site, more details stay limited to keep surprises and special moments in full force; just know it's a very good -- and sneaky -- watch, if only in theaters, at least for now.

Rated "R" by MPAA: for violence: 1:54; $ $ $ $ out of $5

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